Career Diversity for ISU Historians

AHA Career Diversity

What can you do with a graduate degree in history? That question motivated the American Historical Association to create the Career Diversity Initiative and invite universities from around the country to join. With funding from the AHA and the Mellon Foundation, Iowa State University is participating in this exciting effort to uncover and publicize the numerous career opportunities for Historians. Our Career Diversity Fellow, doctoral candidate Colton Adkisson, is working with faculty and administrators to research job opportunities and internships, organize conferences and special events, and help the ISU History community learn about the incredible range of careers for which a History degree prepares you. He is talking with alumni about their career paths and sharing their inspiring stories; meeting with people across campus and around the state to learn how Historians can apply their skills in the workplace; and helping to give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your future.

The AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Initiative is helping us rethink graduate education at both the doctoral and master’s degree levels. How can we better prepare you for your careers after graduate school? How can we restructure the graduate program to create problem-based courses that apply historical inquiry to real-world issues? How can we locate and publicize internships that encourage you to use critical thinking and research skills? These and a variety of other questions are driving us forward and we hope you will join us for the ride. If you are interested in these and other issues we face today, or if you have any questions about this program, please contact our AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Fellow, Colton Adkisson:


During the summer of 2018, ISU’s history department was awarded an American Historical Association-Mellon Foundation grant to pursue career diversity. The goal of this grant is to better develop the variety of skills necessary to fit into academic and non-academic careers. Owing to the unique nature of the R.A.T.E PhD program at ISU, our students have a close relationship with the STEM and other applied fields. Using those ties, we plan to develop a network of resources that will allow our masters and doctoral students to pursue innovative career pathways. The AHA-Mellon grant originated in 2010, allowing us learn from and build on the experiences of other universities. Using successful programming from this initiative, we hope to develop a system of long-term career diversity strategies that will assist students in developing and achieving their career goals.

We are creating a career diversity portal to publicize programming efforts at Iowa State University. This new portal provides access to information about professionalization events, the diverse career paths our alumni have taken, and the many ways your skills as a Historian can benefit you after graduation. This webpage will also give you information about career diversity and navigating the job market. The goal of creating this webpage is to help you organize your career pathways and hone the analytical, research, and communication skills needed to help you achieve professional success.

Contact Information: AHA-Mellon Career Diversity Fellow Colton Adkisson Ross Hall 612